Teaching as a “collaborative, approachable ‘guru’”

Generations X and Y in Law School: Practical Strategies for Teaching the ‘MTV/Google’ Generation

Loyola Law Review, Vol. 54, p. 1, Winter 2009

JOAN CATHERINE BOHL, Stetson University – College of Law

The current generation of law students, members of Generations X and Y, experienced virtually unprecedented access to technology for their whole lives. The American educational system through which they passed was also fundamentally different from the American educational system earlier generations experienced. These factors have had profound influence on current law students’ learning styles. In this article, I address those learning styles in the context of the time-honored educational traditions of law school. I conclude that new approaches to law school teaching are necessary, and I discuss why the often-asserted claim that we simply need more technology in the law school classroom is deeply flawed. By analogizing to the paradigm shift that occurred in mutual fund management and marketing, I establish that successful law teaching depends on law professors who shed the old, authoritarian models of law teaching in favor of being collaborative, approachable “gurus” in the classroom. I also discuss the need to incorporate active learning into the law school experience and suggest some practical strategies for doing so.

 

Source:  LSN Law & Society: The Legal Profession Vol. 3 No. 18,  07/15/2008

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